While we have some go-to places in Westchester, one of our favorite things to do is check out new restaurants in the area. After reading about Mambo 64 in the Journal News in nearby Tuckahoe, NY, we knew we had to give it a try! After a fun autumn day in Rhinebeck, NY, Mamb0 64 was the perfect place to warm up before heading home for the night.
We arrived at Mambo, which has a intimate, cozy feel and were seated by chef/owner Arlen Gargagliano. After pouring over the menu, we decided to share a few tapas and an entree. The food was homey with a Latin flare. We thoroughly enjoyed the different combination of flavors and tastes in all of our dishes. Although we’re often able to resist dessert, we couldn’t say no to the flan!
During our dinner, we introduced ourselves to Arlen and had an opportunity to interact with her in brief conversations throughout the evening. She was engaging and hospitable-we felt like we were in the comfort of her home!
After our visit to Mambo 64, we reached out to Arlen to learn more about the inspiration behind this new Westchester County gem. Did you also know that Arlen is an accomplished cookbook author? Read on to learn more about her!
FP: How did you get your start with cooking?
AG: I was lucky enough to grow up in a home in which my mom always cooked and entertained (my dad was a classic Mad Man—Madison Avenue guy–in the most positive sense!). My siblings and I were always recruited into helping out-from stuffing lobster tails on Christmas Eve, to baking brownies (something I still do!) and more!
When I got older and had children of my own, I always wanted them to have good food smells at home. I enjoyed baking and cooking all kinds of things with them. Even though they’re much older now, I still love to prepare food with them, although they both cook a lot on their own now too.
I also worked in several restaurants—in many capacities, and have always enjoyed taking cooking classes. I was even once lucky enough to take a great cooking class with the late Penelope Casas, who has always been one of my culinary heroes!
FP: We love the concept of Mambo 64! How did the idea come about?
AG: The idea came from my own love of entertaining and opening my home to the people in my life, from students, to friends, old and new and my ever-growing family.
FP: We’re sure glad you decided to open up your own place!
When you’re not working at Mambo 64, what are some of your favorite meals to cook at home for yourself and/or for guests?
AG: Wow—that’s a big question. It always depends on my mood! Quesadillas, with cheese, baby spinach or any vegetable—and any salsa I have, are a big favorite (especially for my for my son and his band mates), as well as sandwiches. Most of the time, I love to play the game of “look-into-my-pantry-fridge-freezer and see what I can create!” However, to be honest, beyond the occasional quesadilla and omelette, I haven’t done too much home cooking lately!
FP: You should sign up for our favorite show Chopped on Food Network to see what you can create from their pantry! We bet you would do great on the show!
When you go out to eat, name some of your favorite places in Westchester or other cities you’ve visited.
AG: There are a few places I like to visit (when I have the time to go out for dinner!) for many different reasons! I enjoy Sushi Mike’s in Dobbs Ferry, as well as pizza at Sal’s Pizza in Mamaroneck or Pelham Pizza. Unfortunately, I don’t have that much time to go out to eat these days, but I miss going to NYC—especially Harlem, Queens, and Brooklyn.
As far as places a little futher from home, I’m of fan of L’Academie in Montreal (which I would visit whenever I visited my daughter at school). I love going out pretty much anywhere in Barcelona-where I lived for a year and visited again just last year. The list goes on and on, I loved the food in Zanzibar (such an exotic mixture!), as well as cuisine throughout the Americas and the Caribbean. I don’t have the time or the space to list all the places I love to eat, but I am always on the lookout for new places and especially enjoy trying new foods.
FP: We’re always on the lookout for new places!
What are some of your guilty pleasures? We like to call them foodie pleasures, hence the name 🙂
AG: Even though I’m not really a sweets person, the first things that come to mind are sweet, especially Rocky Road Ice Cream! This is my most recent favorite-especially after a long day at the restaurant. I am totally addicted, just ask my husband! In addition whenever I watch a movie, I need to have popcorn and Raisinets. I love that combo!
FP: A scoop of ice cream is a great way to end a long work day!
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing? What are your non-cooking hobbies?
AG: Reading, writing, running, taking dance classes, teaching, and TRAVELING!
FP: That’s a great list of hobbies for sure! We wish you continued success with Mambo 64- we’ll be in again soon!
To learn more about Arlen, visit http://www.arleng.com/. If you’re ever in Tuckahoe, NY, make sure to stop by Mambo 64!Mambo 64 64 Main Street Tuckahoe, NY 10701 (914) 222-9964